LA Times Article Cites Miller Barondess’ Lawsuit Against Toyota on Stalling Vehicles And Decreasing Fuel Efficiency Following Prius Recalls
By Ralph Vartabedian, LA Times Reporter, Sunday, February 18, 2018 – When Robert Enger took his Toyota Prius into a dealership for a safety recall, he didn’t expect that his fuel economy would drop.
Just six months after buying the new 2013 Prius, Enger learned that the company was recalling it to fix the car’s hybrid electrical system, which was overheating and frying itself. A technician plugged the car into a diagnostic tool that installed new computer code in two electronic modules. That was supposed to fix the problem.
The repair itself has become controversial amid allegations that the electrical systems are still overheating after the software fix. But Enger noticed something else: His fuel economy dropped by 5 miles per gallon in city driving. Enger, an electrical engineer from Hermosa Beach, checks his mileage every fill-up, dividing the number of miles he drove since the last fill-up by the number of gallons he pumped to top off the tank.
About 800,000 Toyota Priuses in the U.S. were recalled in 2014 to address overheating that damages the car’s inverter, a key part of the electrical power system. A lawsuit brought last year by one of Southern California’s largest Toyota dealers asserted that the software fix did not solve the overheating problem and could lead to an abrupt loss of power. A related complaint by the dealer is now under review by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.